Pizza e Birra, Surry Hills

It was our lucky day. Sir D, BLT and I had just driven out to meet Flamezy at Pizza e Birra in Surry Hills for lunch. We were expecting to have difficulty finding parking but lo and behold! A free parking space beckoned to us right outside Pizza e Birra which we claimed without any hesitation. It was just the start of what was going to be a fantastic day.

Seeing how packed the restaurant was and knowing its’ popularity, we anticipated a short wait to be seated. Surprisingly, we were seated straight away as if a table had already been set in advance for us. The food gods were definitely smiling on us today! We were handed rustic brown paper menus containing an array of pizzas, pastas, salads and sweets.

Spinaci e Gamberi (Spinach and Prawn) pizza – $23.00

Looking around at other patrons, we saw their pizzas were quite large so we decided to share two pizzas and a pasta between the four of us which turned out to be the perfect amount. The spinach and prawn pizza had a vivid red tomato base and an impressive amount of prawns scattered over the top, along with clumps of cooked spinach and cherry tomatoes. Although the topping was delicious, my favourite part of the pizza was the base – it was light and thin with a puffy crust and so very far from the chewy, bready crusts of the Pizza Hut/Dominos variety.

Estiva pizza – $23.00

The Estiva pizza is from the pizze bianche part of the menu so it comes adorned with ham, mozzarella, leek, taleggio and cherry tomatoes but missing the tomato base. The cheese is grilled to a lovely golden brown colour and basil leaves add flavour and colour to the pizza.

Tagliatelle con Ragu di Anatra (Tagliatelle with duck ragu) – $23.00

We decide to order a pasta as well and the tagliatelle with duck ragu does not disappoint with the long strands of al dente tagliatelle pasta, the rich flavoursome tomato sauce and the tender pieces of duck. It’s a shame that the serving is quite small because after dividing between the 4 of us, we only get a little bit each. The sauce is one of the best I’ve tasted (I’m left wondering why I can’t replicate this at home) and I’m almost tempted to order another serving but decide to save room for gelato instead.

Peanut butter and gingerbread gelato at Gelato Messina

Our luck continues as we drive over to Darlinghurst to Gelato Messina and we score another awesome parking spot. Lady Luck also surprises me with a new flavour addition to the Gelato Messina range – peanut butter and gingerbread!

5 scoop plate – $10.00

We opt for the 5 scoop plate to share between us and the flavours we end up with are (left to right) peanut butter and gingerbread, milk chocolate brownie, hazelnut, coconut and lychee, and passionfruit. The peanut butter and gingerbread tastes strongly of peanut butter with a mild hint of spicy gingerbread flavour. Sir D, BLT and I love the passionfruit but Flamezy finds it a bit too sour. The milk chocolate brownie and hazelnut are always crowd favourites and the coconut and lychee has a delicate and balanced flavour. Great pizza, pasta and gelato shared with an awesome group of friends? A fantastic day indeed.

Pizza e Birra

Shop 1, 500 Crown Street
Surry Hills NSW 2010
Ph: +61 2 9332 2510
Open for lunch, Thursday – Sunday from noon
Open for dinner, 7 days from 5.30pm – 11pm (midnight on Saturdays)
No dinner bookings
10% surcharge on Sundays and public holidays

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Gelato Messina
Shop 1, 241 Victoria Street
Darlinghurst NSW 2010
Ph: +61 2 8354 1223
Open Sunday – Thursday, noon – 11pm; Friday – Saturday, noon – 11.30pm

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Ryo’s Noodles, Crows Nest

It’s barely 6pm on a weeknight and already there is a substantial line snaking around the side of Ryo’s Noodles in Crows Nest. Passers-by on the footpath and on the road slow down to see what all the fuss is about. And what is the big fuss about Ryo’s? Only what is rumoured to be the best ramen in Sydney.

Menu

We join the queue which is already longer than the shopfront itself but within 15-20 minutes we are seated. I’ve brought Sir D here to try and convert him to ramen (if Ryo’s can’t do it, then who can?) so we both order two bowls of ramen with the tonkotsu soup base.

Soy sauce tonkotsu ramen with roast pork, nori, egg and shallots – $11.50


I stick to the classic soy sauce tonkotsu ramen with roast pork, nori, egg and shallots. The large bowl of noodles arrives steaming at our table with the distinct thick, almost gelatinous texture of the tonkotsu soup. Half a soft-boiled egg, some vegetables and swirly pink and white Japanese fishcake slices sit on top of a generous scattering of sesame seeds which also hides 3 slices of juicy roast pork. A large nori sheet sticks out of the side of the bowl, half soggy from the soup and half crunchy. The broth is super tasty, almost on the verge of being slightly too salty but perfect when eaten with the slippery, springy ramen.

Spicy hot tonkotsu ramen with roast pork, egg and shallots – $11.50

Sir D goes for the spicy hot tonkotsu ramen with roast pork, egg and shallots. The broth is a vivid red colour with a layer of chilli oil sitting on top of the broth, which adds a nice spicy kick to it. However, the broth is too salty and not spicy enough for Sir D, and he still does not like the chewy-ness of the ramen noodles.

Roast pork rice balls (onigiri) – $4.00 each

All is well though, because we’ve ordered a few extras to accompany our enormous ramen bowls. The roast pork onigiri are fat triangles of rice, shredded roast pork and sesame seeds wrapped with sheets of nori. These are deliciously moreish and perfect as comfort food.

Soft shell crab – $6.00 each

I can’t resist a soft shell crab so we order one to share. The batter on this baby is light and crispy and there is a decent amount of crab meat inside as well.

There were still patrons waiting outside when we finished so we quickly paid the bill and left despite the fact that I felt too full to move. In hindsight the bowl of ramen was probably enough to satiate me, but everything was so delicious that it was worth enduring the food coma consequences!

Ryo’s Noodles

125 Falcon Street
Crows Nest NSW 2065
Ph: +61 2 9955 0225 (no bookings taken)
Open Monday – Sunday (closed Wednesdays), noon-2.30pm and 5pm-9pm


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